Perceptions on Gender equality in Europe with country reports in the EU Barometer

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With the help of focused policies at EU level, in the form of legislation, recommendations, co-funding and awareness-raising activities, much progress has been made. However, gender inequalities in Europe still exist with: 

  • Women still paid on average around 16% less than men per hour of work across the entire economy 
  • Women continuing to be underrepresented in leadership positions, including decision-making functions in politics and in corporate boardrooms – with women holding only 27% of seats in national parliaments and governments; 18% of board seats; and 3% of CEO positions 
  • Violence against women remaining an issue, with an estimated 20-25% of women in Europe having been victims of physical violence at least once in their lives 
  • Persisting stereotypes of traditional gender roles meaning that women still carry a disproportionate share of the burden of housework and of caring for children, the elderly and other dependants.

In this context, this Eurobarometer Survey seeks to measure Europeans’ perceptions of gender inequalities within their own country: how widespread inequalities between women and men are, and whether the situation has improved or worsened compared with ten years ago
MAIN FINDINGS Europeans believe that equality between men and women is a fundamental right EU analysis  Almost all Europeans (94%) agree that equality between men and women is a fundamental right and seven in ten (70%) ‘totally agree’ that it is a fundamental right.  There are hardly any differences in the responses by women and men: 95% of women and 93% of men agree with this statement.

  • Country by country analysis  The view that equality between men and women is a fundamental right is most widespread in Greece and Spain (both 99%), and Cyprus, Malta, Portugal and Sweden (98% in each). Particularly high proportions of respondents in Sweden (94%), Cyprus (87%), Denmark (86%), Malta and the Netherlands (both 82%), and Spain (81%) ‘totally agree’ with this view. 
  • The countries where respondents are least likely to agree that equality between men and women is a fundamental right are Lithuania (80%), Estonia (84%), and Latvia and Poland (both 87%). Lithuania and Poland are the only two Member States where less than half of respondents ‘totally agree’ this is a fundamental right (39% and 46% respectively). However, a majority of Europeans think that gender inequalities are widespread in their country EU analysis 
  • Around three in five Europeans (62%) think that inequalities between men and women are widespread in their country, with around one in ten (11%) thinking they are ‘very widespread’.
  • Around a third of Europeans (34%) think gender inequalities in their country are rare, but only a very small minority (6%) believe they are ‘very rare’. 
  • Opinions on the prevalence of gender inequalities are largely unchanged since 2009, although Europeans are now slightly less likely to think gender inequalities are ‘very widespread’ (down from 15% in 2009 to 11% in 2014) and slightly more likely to believe they are ‘fairly widespread’ up from 47% in 2009 to 51% in 2014). 
  • Women are more likely than men to say that gender inequalities are widespread (68% vs. 57%).
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